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L’odeur du soufre

Marie-Jeanne Wyckmans

Programme notes

Something in the air smells like sulphur, our senses alert us. The breath of danger is coming from everywhere at once, a single spark and everything will blow up. My music illustrates the slow progression of the impacts of an invisible poison.

To do so—and to immerse the audience—I composed this piece in quadraphony. I transformed a series of explosive and dithered sounds that can be surprising (by their sudden appearance) or appeasing. One final, more optimistic note concludes this descent into hell.

“Dangerous actions are, in their natures, poisons which at the first are scarce found to distaste, but… burn like the mines of Sulphur… as soon as violence intervenes.” — Slightly modified quote from William Shakespeare’s Othello (1604): one word (“conceits”) changed for another (“actions”) and addition of an extra phrase (“as soon as violence intervenes”).

Part two of a trilogy composed during the pandemic, this trilogy holding a mirror to it.

[English translation: François Couture, vi-21]

L’odeur du soufre [The Smell of Sulphur] was realized in April 2020 at Musiques & Recherches’s Métamorphoses d’Orphée studio in Ohain (Belgium). Thanks to the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, Administration générale de la culture, Service de la musique.

  • Composer(s): Marie-Jeanne Wyckmans
  • Year of composition: 2020
  • Instrumentation: 4-channel fixed medium
  • ISWC: T3073841353
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • Duration: 9:43
  • ISRC: CAD502110037